Celebrating "Black Health and Wellness" During Black History Month
Vol.8 Issue 2
Black History Month – Know the past, shape the future

Black History Month was the brainchild of historian Carter G. Woodson and other prominent African Americans. It has become an annual celebration, recognizing African American achievements and the vital role that individuals played in U.S. history. For 46 years, each U.S. president has officially proclaimed the second month of the year as Black History Month. This commemoration is also observed in other countries around the world.

It was 1915, half a century after the Thirteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was created, when Black History Month was truly recognized. While the Thirteenth Amendment did not end discrimination, it did initiate the movement of achieving equality for all Americans.

Black History Month celebrates the theme of "Black Health & Wellness"

The 2022 theme for Black History Month is "Black Health and Wellness." This theme encourages us to look at how American healthcare has impacted the African American community, and how we continue to grow in this area. Throughout several decades, people of color have been able to make luminary strides in American society. According to the Economic Policy Institute, educational attainment has increased greatly, with more than 90 percent of African Americans aged 25-29 having graduated from high school. College graduation and income rates have also improved among African Americans. Blacks are also living longer, and a great majority have some form of health insurance coverage.

Because African Americans are one of the most politically engaged demographics in this country, addressing their unique challenges and perspectives, including the pervasive impacts of racism, must be included in health reform efforts.

For many African Americans, the root cause of this problem goes back centuries. Even in good economic times, during the Jim Crow era (a time of increased racial segregation), "Whites Only" hospitals were common throughout the South. Since then, initiatives have been created to help decrease such inequalities. Self determination and social support programs are contributing to the improvement of Black health and wellness.

This topic is especially timely as we continue to battle the third year of the coronavirus global health crisis. We should now applaud black health pioneers like Daniel Hale Williams, a renowned cardiologist who performed the world’s first successful heart surgery in 1893. We should also admire Rebeca Lee Crumpler, who was the first Black woman in the U.S. to receive a medical degree in 1864. These forerunners, among many others, remind us that we can only become a more prepared and resilient country when all of our communities are healthy and strong.

National Black Coalition of Federal Aviation Employees

During Black History Month, it is important to recall an important year, 1964, to celebrate the nation’s premier civil rights legislation being passed – the Civil Rights Act. More than 50 years later, following years of negotiations within the health insurance industry, the Affordable Care Act was eventually passed by the Obama Administration, giving better access to medical care for Americans of all ethnicities. Black health and wellness are topics very well-deserving of public attention, especially here at the Mike Monroney Aeronautical Center (MMAC).

In case you were not aware, anyone is welcome to join MMAC’s National Black Coalition of Federal Aviation Employees (NBCFAE). It is an employee association aimed at promoting equal opportunity for African Americans, other minorities, and female FAA employees. The objective of the Coalition is to improve employee-management relations and to provide an effective liaison among FAA employees, management, and the community at large. For more information, please visit: National Black Coalition Federal Aviation Employees

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